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Mini Sanuels, 
1 eupporCed ne 

my parenCa, 
in pursuing ray 


I wi£h to begin my acknowledgementB by thanking each 
and every nercber of my cormitCee. I would like Co thank 
Harry tracer for bia raaponalveneea and valuable input 

Marty Haeeacker for his pertinent contributions to my study 

to Andrea Uazarlo, Bob Ziller, and Warren Bargad for their 
guidance, suggestions, and sincere involvement in this 
project, 1 would also like to express my sincere gratitude 
to Cary Sutton whose statistical knowledge and willingneea 
to help enabled m 

o get through the most gruesome portion 

I would like to thank the directors and staff of Che 
participating agencies for their availability, cooperation, 
and understanding of the importance of research in the area 
n. Special thanks are extended Co all Che 

women who volunteered c 
share openly their inti 

truth and educating och 
It is a pleasure t 
practical support of icy 

s interviewed a 

empath/, patience, confrontacione. 


Chi-square analyses revealed significant findings for 
both of these hypotheses {p<.0001} . Looking at the 
residuals between the expected and observed values showed 
chat their current perceptions fell into the extreme fanily 
type and their ideal expectations fell into the balanced 
family type at a greater frequency than that axpected by 

Selected demographics were also collected and reported. 
In addition, the limitations of this study and alternative 
interprecaeiona of the results are addreased. 

a study was to explore b 
d future expectations b 
ir narital relationships. 

In the past decade, doneatic violence, particularly 
spouse abuse, has been brought increasingly to Che public's 
attention. What was once eonsidered an unspoken family 
issue, condoned and encouraged by society is now deemed a 
social problem (Dobash & Dobash, 1P71; Roy, 1977; etacey £ 
Shupe, 19B1; Strauss, 1978) . Considered as one 
representation of violence against women, spouse abuse was 
initially addressed through the impetus of Che feminist 

ameliorate the problem of conjugal assault, a host of 
disciplines and groups, including helping professionals and 
feminists, have undertaken Che charge Co research Che 
problem (Fleming, 1979; Hansen 6 Barnhill, 1982; Hilberman, 
1980; NiCerchy, Merrlam i Coffman. 1984; Walker, 1979, 

1984) . Thia involvement )iaa led to a focus on providing 
safety and treatment for spouse abuse victims as wall as 
driving research efforts to search for the causea and 

An indication of the extant o£ the problem ia the 

experts cite Incident ratee as high as 60% (Oellee, 1974i 
Nalkec, 1979}, and even conservative eetimatca, derived from 
etudiee with allegedly representative national samples, 
Indicate that almost 30% o£ married women in the United 
states experience some physical spouse abuse at some point 

that In one household out of six, a spouse has committed an 
aot of violence against his or her partner in the past year 
(AtrauBS, 3ellea & Steinreeta, 1960). The researchers in that 

a family member. Forty % of all female murder victims ere 
killed by their husbands (Uobash 6 Dobash, 1977-78, 1979] . 

Wife abuse exacts a high physical, psychological, and 
social price. Conjugal abuse affects not only the marital 
dyad, but alao Che children and family unit. When violence 

handle relationahips and disagreement. A cultural tradition 
exiate Co utilise hitting as punishment to curb unwanted 
behavior. Theoretically, children not only learn to curb 

behaviors through this model; realistically, they also learn 
that violence and love are linked, that violence is morally 
tight, and that violence la justifiable when something la 
really important (Sellea, 1977). Thus, an attitude that 
violence can be exercised for Che "good” of the recipient is 
promulgated (Miller, 1983). These lessons in childhood are 
transferred to the context of other social relationships, 
and violence in families and relationships becomes a way of 
life (aelles, 1977; Miller. 1983, 1996). The 
intergenerational cycle theory of violence, i.e., chat 
children who are recipients of violence will grow up to be 
perpetrators of violence, has been validated repeatedly fcf. 
Bakan, 1971; Gil, 197D; Gillen, 1946; Maurer, 1976: Palmer, 

Also, domestic violence has aignlflcanc coaCa for 
society. As exsEnples, public and private sector funds are 
used to pay tor shelters, counseling, police intervention, 
legal avenuea and other resources. Police face greater 
injury and death at the scenes of domestic violence chan at 
any ocher crime scene in which they intervene (Bard and 

Wife abuse la a chronic crime which escalates in 
severity and poses a serious threat to the safety of Che 
women involved (Pagelow, 1977a, 1977b, 1981; Walker, 1979) . 
Battered women comnwnly report receiving murder threats from 

continuing after the victims are either unconscious or dead 
{Otcun, 19S6r Walker, 19i9; Wolfgang, 195a). The severity of 
the threat to abused women's lives is substantiated by the 
scatiscios on women who are murdered by thslr partners 
{Dobash and Oolcaeh, 1977>78, 1979 ) , Many more women seek 
safe shelter chan abusers seek treatment for their problem 
(Fleming, 1979) . BetCerers find it extremely difficult to 
acknowledge their behavior as a problem or to Cake 
reeponsibility for Che outcome of their brutality (Walker, 
1979) . 'The chances are quite slim that battered women who 
return to their houeeholds will experience an improved 
conjugal relationship with less threat of violence (Pagelow, 
1981) . Unfortunately, however, many women do return to these 
relationships and it is therefore imperative that research 
continues within this realm in order to determine how 
clinicians can beat treat the battered wife as well as Che 

It hae become evident that wile abuee affecta not only 
the wife, but the entire family. Viewed against this 
background, models of family functioning which can explain 
and predict the behavior and adjustment of family members 

developed Is tlie Circumplex Model (Olson, Sprenkle, i 
Russell, 1979) . They clustered more chan 50 concepts from 

Che family therapy and family research Hceraturea and 
poaculaced three dimenaiona of family behavior: cohesion/ 
adaptability, and eomnonication. Cohesion la defined as the 
emotional bonding family members have towards one another. 
Adaptability is the capacity of the family system to change 
its power structure, role relations, and relationship rules 
in response to situational and developmental stress. 
Comraunleatlon, tha third dimension, is Important for 
facilitating family's movement along the cohesion and 
adaptability dimenaiona. 

Olson and his aseociates hava placed Che dlmenaions of 
cohesion and adaptability in a Circumplex Model In which 
different types of family ayateme are identified. They 
hypothesised Chat a curvilinear relationship exits between 
cohesion and adaptability and optimal family functioning. 
Specifically, they propcaed chat moderate degrees of both 
cohssion and adaptability, as measured by the Family 
Adaptability and Cohesion Svaluation Scales (PACES) , are Che 
moat functional for family development. 

One off Che assets of any theoretical model is that 
hypotheaee can be deduced and tested in order to evaluate 
end further develop the model. If the formulations of Olson 
and his asaociacea are valid, they would have considerable 
utility in the diagnosis, treatmant, and research of 
hacceted women's families. Empirical evaluations of PACES 
and Che Circumplex Model have provided support for this 

model. For example, chree etudies wltft clinical populaciona 
tsabarino, Sebee. and Schellenbach, 1984( (tillorln a Oleon, 

higher-functioning fanlliee tend to poaeese moderate degreee 
of cohesion and adaptability, whereas more disturbed 
families tend to present extreme degrees. 

Following from this, this study will explore the 
current perceptions battered women have of their moat recent 
relationship. Specifically, it is hypothesised that these 
scores will fall into the rigidly-disengaged call on the 
ciccuinplex Model, claasifylng their family as extreme. As 
described in the literature review that follows, the extreme 
family type ususlly lacks a healthy emotional bond ae well 
as lacking adaptability as It was daacrlbed herein. 
Additionally, thia study will examine the expectations 
bettered women have far their ideal marital relatlcnahlp. 
Specifically, this study hypothesises that the scores for 
their ideal expectations will fall into the chaotically- 
enmeshed cell, categorising their family type as extreme. 
This assumption is based on the idea that these woman would 
be so unsstlsfled and unhappy in their current telationshlp 
that they would seek tha opposite extreme, that being an 
intense emotional bond and slot of ability for adaptability 
such that Che relationship becomes too flexible rather than 

healthy moderate balance. 

Ic has been indicated by eeveral reeearchere (carlaon^ 
1977| Hartllc, 1933) that very llctle eyetenacic reeearch )iaa 
been conducted in thia area. The limited data collection 

focused primarily upon the sociological or legal aepecte of 
Che issues, and a paucity of staciscical empiriciem of the 

deala with the relationship between the battering experience 
and the mental health etatue of the abused women, she stated 
chat up to this point there are no records that indicate any 
consideration was given to the impact of psychological 
injuries chat might result from such abuse. 

Hamer <1983) recognised Che Importance of the procees 
of aaeeaenent from a holistic point of view, she believed 
that understanding Che dynamics of the violence and 
assessing the amctionel factors thst occur after an act of 
vlolanca may facilitate in determining the servicee and the 


The purpose of thie study was to sxanins t)ie 
functionality/dysfunctionality of the ralationahips battered 

wontsa are currently in aa well as thoaa chat 
out. Specifically, chia acudy sought to explore the 
percepcione and expecCatlona of a battered woman in regards 
to her current and ideal marital relationship. This would 
be measured using FACES II (Olson, Bell aad Fortner 1979) . 
The prediction would be that both the current and Ideal 
scorea would fall into the dysfunctional range ae predicted 
by Che circumplex model. It was assumed that this would be 
Che result of their prior history of physical as well as 
psychological abuse in addition Co their current 
demographica . Further, thla study will explore whether or 

e purpoeee 

subtype on Che Circumplex Model. Assuming 
are fulfilled, we would lie able to maXe bet 
on bow Co ideally approach these womei 
importance of understanding family dynamics i 

n essencisl 

It is apparent that Che demands to provide mental heath 
services to the victims of spousal abuse and their families 
have increased as a result of more exposure and recognition 
of Che problem. In several studies researchers have examined 
variouB factors related to women remaining in or leaving a 
relationship when they are battered, though the researchers 

did not form global theories which guided their choice of 

The choice of studying battered women's current 
peroaptlons and expeotaticms of ideal marital relationships 
eCema from the belief that these perceptlona and 
expectations may play a highly influential role in much of 
the behavior of victims- These variables are particularly 
significant because of the effects they would have on the 
emotional growth and development of the victims. Pauley 
perceptions and low expeecationa may block ths vlocims from 
taking a atanca In changing their plight, may reduoe the 
number of alternatives they ace willing Co consider, and may 
further their entrapment and resignation to continue in 
destructive relationships. These conditions msy affect Che 
frequency and/or the persistence in exerting efforts to seek 
professional and paraprof essional help. They can keep the 
victims from doing some things necesssry for their survival 
and ars certainly obatacles to their own autonomy. 

The psychological aftereffects of battering were viewed 
aa one of the major factors responsible for women steying in 
abusive homes. These aftereffects typically Include the 
physical, financial, and smotional dependency which all 

battered women immobilised both psychologically and 
behaviorally (Moore, 1979) . However, also worth exploring is 
the impact these aftereffects have on the perceptions end 

expectacions of cha battered wofoen. 

This study Is also important due to its erapiricai 
nature. The modal of family functioning proposed by Olson 

Kor has the model been utilized to address the issues chat 
pertain to different ideal expectatlone battered woman may 
have that would serve Co either promote or inhibit effective 
functioning of family members- The present study sddressea 

Research Hvoothesee 

The specific research hypotheses were as follower 

1. Do battered women have dysfunctional ajtpeetatione 
for their ideal marital relationships, aa evidenced by tbeir 
scores falling into the Extreme family type on the 
Circumplex Model? 

2 . Mhat is the level of satisfaction battered women 
have for tbeir current system? 

3. Mill battered women's current perceptions or ideals 
cluster into a specific cell on the Circumplex Model? 

rigidly disengaged cell? 

3b. Will their ideal expectations fall into the 

from different shelters? 

5. How dc Clle demographic Caccors correlate with the 
cellB/subtypee on the circumplex model? 


This study has implications for researchers In the area 
of domestic violence, shelter personnel, communicy agency 
personnel, private practitioners, and battered women. A 
workable theory which accurately describes the social 
problem of wife abuse and which can be used to shape a 
better family unit and society has yet to be defined, 
whether refinement of current theories or svolution of a new 
theory occurs, research is required on the batterer, the 
family unit, society, and the battered woman. Deaplte the 
heritage of thle problem as a socially taboo subject, and 
the paucity of funding provided to it. the findings from 

battered women and be a part of the base for future research 
efforts on conjugal violence against women. 

By establishing a relationship between the variables 
under inveatigation, the plan was that this study would 
allow researchers, clinicians, and educators Co better 
understand the dynamics of wife abuse. Assuming that 
battered women do have dysfunctional expectations in regards 
to tbeir ideal marital relationship, clinicians would have 
to approach these family eystems in more nontraditional waya 

by first expanding the realit of poesibUities for marital 

understanding and mutual appreciation by nore clearly 
bnowlng the challenges they face to establish violence-free 
lives. These findings will not provide them with the causal 
explanations for why some stay with or return to abusers and 
some do not. Yet, tha findings may provide them with clues 
to sailors what in their situations are defensive reeponses 
to their abuee and which have roots in both external end 
internalised oppreaslon. Greater understanding can help 

Operational definltione for terms relevant to tha 

the age of 16 who has bssn physically al 

of an intimate male partner. {A definition for battered 
woman has not been universally agreed upon by researchers) . 
The most notable distinctions about this definition are as 
follows: A battered woman would not need to present evidence 
of Injuryi self-report of physical battering is sufficient. 

Scuiracher, 1977) . Although abuses < 
just as devastating, and support ej 

physical abuse ce 

battering (Moore, 

1 dsfioition herein 
the purpose is loecai 

for psychological abuse is 
s sanple ttay include wooen 

ein, or separated or divorced 
ch other.) Battered wives am 

legally married t« 

mean battered women as defined here. Abused, harmed, or 
beaten nay be substituted for battered. 


"The ability of a marital/fsmlly system to change its 
power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules 
in response Co situational and developmental stress" (Olson 
ec al,, 1979, p, 19). The battered woman's score on the 
adaptability dimension for the Family Adaptability and 
Cohesivenass Evaluation Scale (FACES II) will constitute 
adaptability for this study. 

"The einocioaal bonding members have with one another 

in the family Bystem" (Olson et al., 1979, p-5J . For this 
study, Che battered woman's score on the cohesion dimension 

This study will be presented in five chapters- Chapter 
two is a review of the related literature. The proposed 
research methodology is detailed in the third chapter- Data 
analyses and results are printed in the fourth chapter, 
Finally, in Chapter five, the researcher offers a discussion 

limitations of the study, and further impllcatlans. 



violence is seen aa a useful tactic to keep a male-dontinanc, 
patriarchal social order in place (walker, 1964) . 

The legal e/stem, called upon to cnete out punishnent 

widespread historical acceptance of such violent behavior. 
Pleok (1979) details Che changes in social and legal 

nineteenth century, citing 


regulate the behavior of other men. were embedded in their 
own definltione of proper behavior for men and women. Jonee 
{19&Q] provldee a hietorlcal context of similar attitudes 
since the beginning of our country. Qelles (1972) found that 
1 reflect thoee noticne of just discipline 
or perceived standards of behavior. Research 

rather chan ignore the social context in which violence 

Dltferencee in Women and Men 
The traits of affiliation and sensitivity developed 
through women's roles of nurturing and sustained through 
intimate relating are frequently seen as weaknesses in a 
culture built on male yardsticks of autonomy and euccees 

their manageability and the comfort and stability they bring 
to Che lives of others, yet belittled as indicating a lack 
of strength, Independence, and maturity (Miller, I976j 
Gilllgan, 1982) . Theories of personality and development 
have been based largely on men and male ideala (Freud, 190S, 

A heavy emphasia on Che imporcance of individuation, task 
being a successful male. 

sCrangChs of coiopassion 

traditional model; weaker, leas effective, and less 
developed (HeClelland, 1975; Miller, 1976; Gilllgan, 1982). 
In particular, the importance attached by wcmen to 
connection*-what Kaplan and Surrey have called the 
'relational self' in women, or the quality of relationships 
with others being at the core of one’s seU-concept--is seen 
as less mature and less well-adjusted than the more 
autonomous perspective attributed to men (Kaplan and Surrey, 
1999) . In the male model, intimacy and relatednees often 
appear as threats to the more highly valued goals of 

This brief review of the history and concurrent 
societal standards for men and women shows clearly that 
there is strong empirical evidence advocating the high 
frequency of woman-battering. 

The earliest publications on the subjsot of wife abuse 
too)t a distinctively psychiatric view of both offender and 
victim. Women who were abused were believed to suffer from 

psychological disorders 

Research conducted 

o£ vtCe battery too eiEoplletic. There are a nunber o£ 
individual, demographic, relatiooaX, and situational factors 

Individual f 

been found Co have low self esteem and vulnerable self 
concepts. A ramarh, insult, or comment that might not affect 

described as feeling helpless, powerless, and Inadequate 

power and adequacy. 

are difficult to Interpret (Gellee and Cornell, 1965) , One 
never really )cnows whether Che personality factors found in 
bsctered wives were present before they were battered or are 
the result of Che victimization. 

Battered women have been described as dependent, having 
low self esteem, and feeling inadequate and helpless (Ball, 
1977; shalnesB, 1977; Wal)ter, 1979} . Sometimes the 
personality pcofilss of battered women reported in Che 
literature seem directly opp 

s aggressive. 

highest Vage o£ battered 

}. Another study reported 

expectation t 

n factors associated with wife battery li 
us of the husband. Being unemployed ie 
in our society. It is a clear 
they are not fulfilling society’s 
t are the family providers. Unemployed 

nen IRoimsaville. 19?B; Gayford, 19'75; 

PreacotC & Letko, 1977) . Men who are employed part time have 
even higher rates, probably because they have the worst of 
all possible worlds -- no full-time job and not eligible for 
unemployment or other benefice (Straus at al., 1980). 

Early studies of spousal violence found that men whose 
educational attainment and occupational atatus wae lower 
than their wives were more li)cely to assault their wives 
than nen who were better educated and had better Jobs than 
their spouses (Gslles, 1974; O'Brien, 1971) . Additional 
research bears out the hypotheela that statue Inoonaletency 
and atatus incompatibility are related to marital violence. 
One example of etatua Incemsietency la where a hus)iand'8 

educational loackground 1 b considerably higher than his 
occupational attainment. Status incompatibility is when the 
husband, who society expects to be the leader of the family, 

of these cases, the risk of marital violence is elevated 
(Homunq ec al . , 1981; steinmota, 1962; Rounsaville, 1978). 

violence la not purely a product of individual factors la 
the finding that certain properties of marital relations 
raise Che lilcelihood of violence. That structural properties 
of marriage and family life are involved means that abuse 
can not be solely attributed to "had" or "eiok" people. 

Decleton-making patterns or power balance was found to 
be related to domoatlc violence. Democratic houeeholds homes 

families. Homes where all the decisions ; 
the wife or the husband have the highest 
Another relationship factor is that 
type of family violence in a I 
chat another form of violence will be pre, 

tStrauB ec al., 198D; Hilberraan & Munson, 

made either by 
ea of violence. 

Stress 4nd Iselation 

Social stress and social isolation are tvo final 
factors that are strongly related Co the risX of wife-abuse. 
Unemployment, financial problems, sexual difficulties, low 

cycle of Violence 

experiences with violence. Individuals who have experienced 
violent childhoods are more likely to grow up and assault 
their wives chan men who have not experienced childhood 
violence. Physician J.J. Gayford (1975) as well as other 

violence-ridden childhood (Roy, 1977) Fagan at al-, 1983). 

Drawn from social learning theory, Che concept of an 
‘inCerganerational transmission of violence" explains how 
pactems of violent interaction can be "passed on" from one 
generation to c)ie next, children growing up in violent hones 

the people around t)ien. In addition, they begin Co develop 
their own ideas about how different emotions are expressed 
and what conacicucsa appropriate reactions for various 

aicuaclons (Browne, 

concepts include ideas 

about what behaviors are appropriate lor males and females, 
and the roles and responslbilitiee of different family 

of coping when they are faced with threatening eicuations 

Oellee, and Stelnmeta asserted that, "Bach generation learns 
to be violent by being a participant in a violent family -- 
e begets violence" (p, 13U • Findings from seudies 
>f aggressive behavior support a 
n between childhood exposure Co 
d Involvement with adult violence. For 
to aggression as a child is highly 

'f violence in particular (Alfaro, 

) McCord, 1979; Sorrells, 1977; 

Victim or witness 

The impact that childhood exposure to violence can have 
on an individual's future interactional style is further 
highlighted by recent studies that attempt to separate the 

of experiencing violence In Che 
. Although exposure Co violence 1' 

of childhood 

both, ie highly 
n violent relaclonehipe, 

e vlccirae inveecigeced by 

growing up“ie consistently related to future wife abuse. 
Similarly, men who witnessed parental violence are much more 
Cer perpetrate abuse against a female partner 
' were Che viccloe of child abuse but did not 

Profile of Kite Abuse 

One way of advancing our underetanding of spousal abuse 
is to move beyond a simple explanation of single factors and 
their association with violence. After ooneidering all the 
variablea that are found to be related with violence in Che 
home. Straua and associacea [19S0) found twenty 
characteristics relevant in acts of wife besting. They 
included the following: 


Che husband a manual wmrher Uf employed) 

both husband and wife very worried about economic 

the wife diasaclsfled with the family's standard of 

n families w 

n thirty years o 

husband and wife have > 
hit mother 

oouplea married fewer 
Che husband and wife b 
a nonwhite racial group 
above average marital conflict 
very high levels of family and individual screae 

a husband varbally aggressive to his wife 

both getting drunJt frequently, but are not alcoholles 
couples who lived in a neighborhood fewer than two yean 
couples who do not participate in organised religion, o: 


peraonallcy characteristlca as tha chief deCerminants of 
violence and abuse. A psychiacric model links factors suci 
as mental illness, personality defects, psychopathology, 

1 abnormalities to family violence, 
h indicates that less than 10% of instances c: 
family violence is attributable solely to personality 
traits, mental illness, or psychopathology (Steele. 197 Q) 

The Social Situational Model 

A social-situational model o 
that abuse and violence arise out 
first is structural a 
income and family violence, for inatance, indicates that a 
centra] factor in violence and abuee is Inadequate financial 

concerning foroe and violence in the home. "Spere the rod 
and spoil the child. " "The marriage licenae is a hitting 
lioenss." These are phraaaa that underscore the widespread 

1 notes that such structural 
, unemployment, limited educational 

loving parents, adoring hue 

psychological, social, and 
expeccacions of society, friends, neighbors, loved 
themselves. Combined with the cultural approval fox 
violence, these shortfalls lead many family meraberE 

Social Learnino Theory 

A subset of social'SlcuaCional theory is social 
learning theory. A cofcaronly stated explanation for family 
violence is that people learn Co be violent when they grow 

people learn the rolea of mother and father, husband and 

with ecreee and frustration. The family is also the place 

history of abuse and violence does increase Che risk that an 
individual will be violent as an adult. 

Individuals are not only exposed Co cechniguea of being 
violent, but they also learn Che social and moral 

a parenc who has physically struck his or her own child 
explain that they were punishing the child for the child's 

Another explanation of feoily violence chat is 
supported hy the available scientific data is resource 
theory (Goode^ 1971) , This model aaeumee that all social 
aysCene (including Che family) rest Co soree degree on force 
or Che threat of force. The more resources' •social, 

actually has, Che less he or she will actually use force in 
an open manner. Thus, a husband who wants to be the dominant 
person in the family, but has little education, has a 5 ob 
low in prestige and income, and lac)C8 interpersonal skills, 
may chose to use violence Co mslntsin Che dominant position. 

grievance when they have few alternative r 

le as a unique phenomenon Chet has been obscured and 
what they refer Co as the "narrow focus on 

dooestic violence. The Dobaehee make the case Chat 
throughout history, violence has systeinBtically been 
directed toward women. The Dobaehee' central thesis is that 
economic and eocial processes operate directly and 
indirectly to support a patriarchal (male dominated) social 
order and family acruceure. Their central theoretical 
argument is Chat patriarchy leads Co eubordinaCion of women 
and causes the historical pattern of syscemacic violence 
directed against wives. 

The Dobashes' theory is perhaps the only theory that 
finds the source of family violence in Che society and how 
it is organized, as opposed to within individual families or 
communities. The major drawback of the theory is that it 
usee but a eingle factor (patriarchy) to explain violence, 
and single factor explanations are rarely useful in socisl 

Why Bi 

Hny would a woman who has been physically abused by her 
husband remain with him? This question appears in the 
literature as one of the most frequently asked by Isoth 

disoussions of family violence, tmfortunately, the answer to 
this question is not easily answered. Several tactore need 
to be taken Into consideration. In the first place the 

to either stay with an assaultive spouse or to seek 

r dissolution of a marriags Is not related 
solely to the extent or severity of the physical assault. 
Some spouses will suffer repeated severe beatings or even 
stabblngs without so cnueh as calling a neighbor, while 

husbands. Second, the assumption that the victim would flee 
from a conjugal attacker overlooks the complex subjective 
meaning of intraf amilial violence, the nature of commitment 
end entrapment to the family as a social group, and the 
external oonstraint which limits a woman's ability to seek 
outside help (Oelles, 1976) . As has been reported elsewhere 
{Pamas, 1967; Sellee, 1974; Straus, I974b, 1976), violence 

mandated in family relations, wives have reported that they 
believe that it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife 
"every once in a wiiile" (Pamas, 1967: 9S3; Qelles, 1974: 

Legal writer Bliaabeth Truninger (1971) Hate seven 
factors that help explain why women do not break off 
relationships with abusive husbands: 1 ) they (the women) 
have negstlvs self-conoepts; 2 ) they believe their husbands 
will reform; 3) economic hardship; 4) t)wy )iave children w)io 
need a father's economic support; 5) they doubt they can get 
along alone; 6) they believe divorcees ars atigmatizad; and 
7) it's difficult for women with children to get work. 
Moreovet, Truninger found Chat wcraan attempt Co dissolve a 

violent marriage only after a hiatory of conflict and 
reconciliation. According to chia analyaia, a wife cnakee a 
deciaion to obtain a divorce from her abuaive nusband when 
ahe can no longer believe her huaband'e promiaes of no more 
violence nor forgive paet eplaodea of violence. 

Ferraro and Johnaon {1983) deacrlbed how women 
Tationallaed' being abuaed, eaying thlnge like, -1 aa)ted 
for it*, "Ka'a Bic)t". and "He didn't injure me". Ferraro and 
Johnson fl983) alao demonatrate how these accounta prevented 
the women from seeking help. Along tha same lines. Mills 
(19B5) described Che "techniques of neucraliaation'' that 
n use "to help them tolerate violent 

"manage the violence" directed towards them was they used 
"Justifications" (e.g., "compared to others, it seems my 
problems are small") to "minimize the significance of their 
victimization" (p.109). 

Learned Helolessnasa 

The theoretical concept of "learned helplessness" has 
been adapted in this realm to explain why woman find it 
difficult to escape a )aatcering relationship {Walker, 137ab 
1979) . Seligman and hie colleaguea discovered chat when 
laboratory animala were repeatedly and nonooncingently 
shocked, they became unable to escape from a painful 
situation, even when escape was quite possible and readily 

learned helpleesneas 

apparent i 

to aninale that ] 

cognitive, motivational, and behavioral componenta. The 
inability to predict the euccess of one’s actions was 
considered responsible for the resulting perceptual 
diatortions- Moreover, Seligman'e theory was further refined 
and reformulated, based on later laboratory triala with 
human participanta [Abramson, Sellgman a Teasdale, 1979) . 

For example, depressed humane were found to have negative, 
pessimiatic beliefs about the efficacy of their actions and 
the likelihood of obtaining future rewards; helpless animals 
act as if they held similar beliefs. Both depressed humane 
and helpleSB animals exhibited motivational deficits in the 
laboratory. Both showed signs of emotional upset with 

symptoms similar 
woman syndrome. 

those described as part of the battered 

It has also been suggested that "being a woman, more 
specifically a married woman, automatically creates a 
situation of powerleaenese" (Halker. 1979, p.sij, and chat 
women are taught eex-role ecereotyping which encourages 
passivity and dependsncy even as little girls (Badloff k 
Has, 1979, 1991; Dweck. Goetz, t Strauae, 1980), Seligman'e 
research indicated that Che experience of nonooncingency 

developmenc Increased Chat anintal's vulnerability to learned 
helplessness later in lUe. He Hypothesised that the sane 
principles apply in human child raising practices (Sellgnan, 
1975J . To Che extent Chat enlmal end human helplessness are 
elrailar, childhood experiences of noncontingency between 
response and outcome, including socialisation practices that 
encourage paesivity and dependency, ehould increaee a 
woman's vulnerability to developing learned helplessness in 
s battering relatlonahip. 

MalXer Cycle Theory of Violence 

The Welker Cycle Theory of Violence (Walker, 1979) ie a 
tension reduction theory which etates that there are three 
dietinct phases sssociated in a recurring battering cycle: 

1 ) the tension building, 2 ) the acute battering incident, 
and 31 loving contrition. Curing the first phase, there is a 
gradual escalation of tension displaysd by discrecs sets 
causing increased friction such as name calling, other mean 
intentional behaviors, and/or physical abuse. The batterer 
expresses dissatisfaction and hostility but not In an 
extreme or maximally explosive form. The woman attempts to 
placate the batterer, doing what she thinks might please 
Sim, calm him down, or at least, what will not further 
aggravate him. She tries not to respond to his hostile 
actions and uses generel anger reduction techniques. Often 
she succeeds for a little while which reinforces her 

unrealistic belief Chat she can ccMCrol this man. It also 
becomes part of the unpredictable nonconcingency 
reeponse/ouccome pattern which creates the “learned 

"Phase two is characterized by the uncontrollable 
discharge of the tensions chat have built op during phase 
one" {p.S9}. The batterer typically unleashes a barrage of 
verbal and physical aggression that can leave the woman 
severely shaken and injured. In tact, when injuries do oecui 
it usually happena during this eecond phase. It is also the 
time police become involved, If they are called at all. The 
acute battering phase is concluded when the batterer aCops, 
s caaaation a sharp physiological 

usually bringing w 
reduction in tensii 

h follows, ' 

apologize profusely, tr^ 

himself to be violent again. The woman wi 
batterer and, early In the relationship t 
her ht^e in his ability to change. This t 
the positive reinforcement for remaining 
relationship, for the woman. 

gifts and/or promlees. The 

question, "Why don’t battered 

based on the aasuniption that leaving will end the violence. 

first or second incident, even the smoothness of those 
separations depends on the abuser’s sense of desperation or 

' relationship continues, and the more 
it by both partners, the more difficult it 
woman to leave an abusive man safely. Some 

are followed and harassed or further attacked 

Abused woman’s primary fear, that their abusers will 
find them and retaliate against their leaving, la justified. 
Some women who have left an abusive partner have been 
followed and harassed for months or even years; some have 
been killed (Lindsey, 1979; Martin, 1976; Pagelow, i960. 

1991] , The evidence suggests that, in many cases, the man'; 
violence continues to oscslace after a separation (yields, 
1978; Flora-Gormally, 1978; Lewln, 1879; Pagelow, 1980, 

Violent men do search desperately for their partners 
ones the woman leaves (Ewing, Lindsey, £ Pomerantz, 1984). 
Often, they spend days and nights calling her family and 

mutual acquaintances! phoning her place of eraployment or 
showing up therei driving around Che streets looking tor 
her; haunting achool grounds, playgrounds, and grocery 
stores. They may nearly kill their mates, but they do not 

For many battered women, leaving their mates and living 
n constant fear of reprisal or death seems more intolerable 
han remaining, despite their feare of further harm. Homan 
n hiding relate how they are afraid to go Into their 

or to leave at night; to approach their car in a parking 
lot; to visit friends {Browne, 1967) . They know if their 
estranged partners find them, he may simply retaliate and 
not wait to talk. Shelter personnel who work with battered 
women struggle agalnec their frustration when women return 
to their abusera; yet In many cases, Che women are simply 

Another Important concept worth understanding is the 
recognised diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
(PTSO), which battered women, like many Vietnam war 
veterans, may develop. Those who study PTSD have found that, 
after experiencing severe and unexpected trauma, or being 
repeatedly and unpredictably exposed Co abuse, most people 
tend to develop certain psychological syrapcoma that continue 

o affect their ability to function long after the original 
rauma. They may beliave they are helpleae, lacking power to 

he extremely complex 
the overlap of so many 

change their situation. 

perspectives is an indioation o 
problem of woman-battering, oiv 
theories, walker (ISBOal proposes a multi-deterministle 
theoretical orientation for explaining causality of woman 
battering. After reviewing over 160 theoretical and 
ineidenoe studies, Lystad (19751 arrived at a eimilar 
conclusion. Hs believed that a comprehenaive theory of 
domestic violence must take into account factors at the 
paychological, social, and cultural levels. 

This study attempts to provide an answer to Che 
question of why victims of conjugal violence stay with thel 
husbands by focusing on vsrioue aspects of Che family and 
family experience which distinguish between women who are 
victims of spousal abuse and those that are not. 

Viewed against the background of domestic violence, 
models of family functioning which can explain and predict 
the behavior of its members are of great importance, one 
such model chat has been developed for this purpose is that 
of Olson, 5prenkle and Russell (1979J. 

Starting in the middle 1970-s, Olson and hie associates 

began work on a nodal of marital and family syseeme. Their 
model building began out of a asnse of fruatratlon over an 
ever-growing list of concepte that ware being developed in 
the family eyateins field. In one article (Olson at al . , 

1979 ) , they list over 45 concepte which describe varioue 
family proeeaaes. Perceiving a need for eyntheeis, they 
identified what appeared to be two central concepts, 
cohesivenasa and adaptability. In addition, they proposed a 
third dimension: family oommunioation, which la considered 
to be a facilitating dimension in Chat it enables couples 
and families to move on the cohesion and adaptability 
dimensions- Olson and his colleagues dsvelopsd Che Family 
Cohesion and Adaptability Seale (FACES) Co assess the 
cohesion and adaptability dimeneiona of their model and Chia 
will be reviewed in detail later- 

Family ooheaion ie defined as, "The emotional bonding 
members have with one another and the degree of individual 
autonomy a person sxperiences in the family system" (Olsen 

the specific concepts or veriablss that can be used to 
diagnose and measure the family cohesion dimensions sre: 
emotional bonding, boundaries, coalitions, time, space, 
friends, decision-making, interests, and recreation, 
fhere are four levels of cohesion, ranging from 

disengaged {very low] to separated {low to moderate) to 
connected (moderate to high) to enmeshed (very high) . It la 
hypothesized that Che central levels of cohesion {eeparated 

extremes (disengaged or enmeshed) are generally seen as 

of these extremes (Olson. 1989) . When cohesion levels are 
high (enmeshed systems) , there is too much consensus within 
the family end too little Independence. AC tile other extreme 
(disengaged sysceras) . family members "do their own thing, ■ 
with limited accaobmenc or eommttraenc to their family. In 

the model's central 
individuals are abl( 

connected t' 

(separeted and connected) . 

3ls to experience and balance these two 
ible to be both independent from and 
1 families. 

relacionahlp often has extreme emotional 
‘a is little involvement among family 
is a lot of personal separateness and 

independence. People often do c 
separate interests. 

A separated relationsloip h 
separateneea but it is not as e' 
system. While time apart 
together and some joint decisions. Activities and incareete 
ars generally eeparace but a few are shared. A connected 

e emotional 
as the disengaged 

relationship has sons emotional closenesa and loyalty to the 
relatiorushlp. Time together is more lioportant than time 
apart to be by oneaelf. There ie an emphaaia on 
togethemeea. While there are separate friends, there are 
also friends shared by the couple. There are often shared 

In the enmeshed relationship, there is an extreme 
amount of emotional closenesa and loyalty is demanded. 
Persons are very dependent on each other and reactive to one 
another. There ie a general lack of personal eeparateness 
and little private space is pemitted. The energy of the 
persons is mainly focused inside the marriage or family and 
there are few outside individual friends or interests. 

Based on the cireumplex Model, high levels of cohesion 
{enmeshed) and low levels of cohesion (disengaged] might be 
problematic for relationships, on the other hand, 
relationships having moderate scores (separated and 
connected) are able to balance being alone versus together 
in a more functional way. Although there ie no absolute best 
level for any relationship, some may have problems if they 
always function at elthsr extrems- 

Pamily adaptability is defined as, -The ability of a 
k>arital or family ayatem to change its power ecructurs role 
relationships and relationships rules in response to 

p. X3] . The concepts used to describe, measure, 
couples and families on this dimension includei 
power, negotiation styles, role relationships ar 

and diagnose 

The four levels of adaptability range from rigid {very 
low) to structured {low to moderate) to flexible {moderate 
to high) to chaotic {very high). As with cohesion, it is 
hypothesised that central levels of adaptability {structured 
and flexible) are more conducive to marital and family 
functioning, with the extremes {rigid and chaotic) being the 
most problematic for families as they move through the 

Baeicelly, adaptability focuses on the ability of the 

application of aystans theory to families emphasized the 
rigidity of Che family and Ite tendency to maintain the 

to change when appropriate distinguishes functional couples 

and authoritarian leader to being chaotic end erratic or 
limited leadership, A rigid relationship is where one person 
is highly controlling. The roles are atrictly defined and 

overall leaa rigid. Laaderahip la somewhac Ic 

paranta. Rolea are atable, but thara ie aoioe 

change. A flexible relacionahip ia avan laaa 
Laaderahip is more equally ahared. Rolea are 

* Bomecitnea 
It. Rolea are unclear and often ahift from 

pereon to peraon. 

Baaed on the Cixcumplex ( 
change (chaotic) and very low 
be problenacic for a marriage 
relacionahlpa having moderate 
flexible) are able Co balance 
in a more functional way. Although there ie no abaolute 
level for any relacionahip. many relationahips may have 
problema if they alwaya function at either excrama. 

very high levele of 
•la of change (rigid) might 
family. On the other hand, 
rea (structured and 
I change and some acabillty 

d Family Cpimrunicatlon 

Family eotmnunication is the third dimension in 
Clrcunplex Model, and la considered a facilitating 

facilitating couples and families to move on the oth 
dimensions. Because it ia a facilitating dimension. 

with cohesion and adaptability. 

families to share with each other their changing neede and 
preferences ae they relate to cohesion and adaptability. 
Negative coimDunicatlon skills (ninimize the ability of a 
couple or family members to share their feelings and, 
thereby, restrict their movement on these dimensione. 

describing types of couples and families. There are four 
levels of cohesion and four levels of adaptability and 
putting them together forms sixteen celle or types of 
families. Once couples or fsmiliee have been pieced into one 
of the sixteen types, it becomes possible to reduce the 

fall into the two central cells of both cohesion and 

on the other dimension. Extreme families are those that fall 

It is important to elaborate on whet oleon and 
colleagues imply with their definition of balanced. 

n appropriate but that they do not 

typically function a 
time. PamilieB in t 

indapendant and connected to their family. Both extreraea 
are tolerated and expected, but the family does not 

family types tend to function only at Che excremea and are 
not encouraged Co change the way they function as a family. 
Accordingly, olaon and his associates predict several other 
hypotheses chat follow from this model. First, balanced 
family types have a larger behavioral repertoire and are 
more able to change compared with extreme family types. 

This could infer a plausible explanation of why women would 
remain in abuelve relationships, i.e. they cannot find an 
alternative response. Second, to deal with aituational 

adaptability, whereas extreme tamUies will resist change 

system to deal with screes or to accommodate changes in 
family members, particularly as family members alter their 

eesumes that individuals and family systems will change, and 
it hypothesises that change can be beneficial to the 

and improvement of family functioning lolaon 

wnen one family member desires change, the family 
system must deal with Chat request. Por emample, increasing 
numbers of married women want to develop more autonomy from 

accordance with these expectations, the 
. probably experience increased amounts of 
:an carry this over to the plight of a battered 
infer that the system could not adequately 

10 imperative that wo link the Circumplax Model 
mm about ralatlonehlpe In violent faniliee. 

marriages t 

bonding, wit 
survival of Che common family unit, 
within Che family may actually add ti 
interesting theory of traumatic bond, 
by Dutton {19SQ}. The familiar sene« 

.e blurred. 

le to eetabliah 

peychological Independence 

FbbIIv *d«nt«hllltv 

adaptability Olson, Bell and Porcnar (1B7B} davelc^ad the 
Family Adaptability and CohaaivenasB Evaluation Scales 
(FACBS) . By indicating tbeir degree of agreement with 

is evaluated on the issues which serve to define the 

In Che first version of Che Family Adaptability and 
Cohesion Bvaluation scale, FACES I, {Olson, Sprenkle, & 
Russell, 1979), the two extremes of cohesion were labeled 
enmeshnent and disengagement. A curvilineer relationship 
between cohesion and family functioning was hypothesized. 
The hypothesis haa been maintained in later versions: FACES 
II [Olson, Fortner, k Sell, 19S2) and FACES III (Olson, 
Fortner, & Lavea, 1985) . According Co Green and colleagues 
(Green, Harris, Forts, a Robinson, 1991a) ''literally 
hundreds of research projects in the past decade" (p,55) 

These advsntages will be discussed in detail in Chapter III, 
ideal expectations for relaticnehipe aa well aa one's 

Innlicatiang of This Study 

the Cireutnplex mo< 
provided in orde 
two fundamental > 
and adapcablllcy. 

treatment plarmins to atrengthen particular componenta o 
functioning toward clearly epecified and realiatic 

For thoee women aeeeeeed at either Extreme on the 
dimeneione, intervention etrateglee can be targeted to fit 
their particular pattern of organlaation and to guide 
change, in a stepwiee progreeeicn, toward a more Balanced 
ayatem. According to OlBon (19611, a reachable goal for 

f higher functioning at the next, adjacent 
pattern, auch aa a abift from dleengaged to eeparated or 

severe dyafunction ia tc aaauraa either that petteme are 
hat change toward the oppoeite pettem ii 

Olson (19911 found that severely dysfunctional families 

change. They are more likely to alternate between feelings 
of hopelessneae that any change can occur and unrealistic 
expectations for goals that are unlikely to be met. 

r exanple, in families vich extransly rigid 
1 patterns, leadership tends to be 

or both parents highly ccmtroHlog- 
8 typically autocratic, based on a simplistic 
"law and order,” and consequences are strict, 

problems regardless of its applicability. Rigid families 

limited, i 
arbitrarily, t 

adaptive changes when confronted by new circumatances and 

Applying Che Circumplex Model, we would propose chat 
therapy with rigid families target interventions to shift 
their organization Co the structured range on the family 
adaptability dimension. Leadership, while still primarily 
authoritarian, would become less controlling and more 


Discipline would become somewhat more 
h consequences prsdictable, although s 

greater flexibility and sharing. Rules would allow f 
changee and be firmly, yet less strictly, enforced. 

The chief therapeutic cash with rigid families i 

that faallltata more open coininunication, negotiated deciaion 
making, and axperlmancal problem solving can be useful, ht 
the same tins, it is aruoial to maintain stability in the 
family. A common clinical error with extremely rigid 
families is to push for too much change too fast, which 
typically only heightens these families' resiecanoe to 

reinforce the need to address how women are socialised and 
what their belief systems are regarding sex roles. Social 
psychology theories are helpful in understanding the 
relationship between violence and sex roles (Malker, 1 S 81 ) - 
Females are socialized into rolee that encourage their 
dependence on men. They are taught to be nurturing, 
compliant, and passive. At the same time, they are not 
taught effective responses to men's violence against then. 
Hales are aocialized into roles that encourage both 

to be intelligent, rational, and strong as well as the 

e expression of their frustrations. The outcome of 
s reflected in high battering 

the cultural norma of our society which legitimize marital 

violence and the sexist organization c 

, Strauss et al . 
conditioning te 

Whitehurst (1974) described s clash of ideologies 
between traditional, conservative, patriarchal husbands and 
non'traditional liberal wives as being at Che root of 
caarital violence. In addition, it has been suggested 
(Gayford, 1975; Boy, 1977} that experiencing child abuse or 
witnessing parental spouse abuse in the family of origin 
predisposes the husband to follow the role model chat he 
learned in childhood. Similar experiences may prediapoae 
Che wife to tolerate Che abuse that ehe may have legitimized 
aa a normal, expected aspect of married life (Pocji)c, 1977- 
1978; Gayford, 1975; Gelles,1974; Hoy, 1977) . In this study 
50.69 of Che women reported violence in their family of 

Presented in this review of the related literature waa 

dimensions as methods for classifying families. This model 
specifies both functional and dysfunctional patterns of 
be)iavior. This study will attempt Co demonstrate a 
difference in levels of cohssion and adaptability aa they 

support for tha notion t 

Moreover, chia acudy predlcta that theae current 
ralationahips will fall into Che rigldly-diaengaged aubcype 
on Che model. Thie would be a family who on the coheeion 
dineneion la dleengaged, where family membere "do their own 
thing, with limited attachment or commitment to their 
family. A disengaged relationship is one with extreme 
emotional separateness and little Involvement among family 
members. There Is alot of personal separateneee and 
independence. On the adaptability dimeneion, tbie would be 
a rigid relationship where one person is highly controlling. 
The roles are eCrictly defined and Che rules do not change. 
An additional hypothesis of this study is that Che battered 

predicted Chat Che ideal scores will fall into the very 

■chaotically enmeshed'. This would be a family who on the 

cloeeneee end loyalty la demanded. There is a lack of 
paraonal separacsnesB and all energy la focused on the 
marital relationship. On the adaptability dlmenaion, this 
would be a family with erratic or limited leadership where 

impulsive and 


The purpose of this ecudy wee to explore a battered 
woman's current perceptions of her relationship as wall as 
her ideal expactatione for such in regards to levels of 
adaptability and cohesion. The research methodology that 
was used in the investigation is presented in this chapter. 
The research design, hypotheees, participants, 
instrumentation, procedures, data collection, data analysis 
and limitations will be dlsousaed. 

Population a nd Sample 

Because a definition for battered women has n> 
been universally agreed upon by reeearchers and be> 
is difficult to measure the severity of one's abus> 
different groups of battered women were included Ij 

study. The first populstlon was battered women who ware 
staying at the Dade County Women in Dlecreee Shelter (Sefe> 

Space) or at the group home (AFTA) . The second population 
of battered women cane from both the Broward County women in 
Distress Shelter and their outpatient therapy group. As is 
common with battered women's absltere throughout the Unltsd 

names on a waiting list for 
n facing Imminent potential 

avenues, transports the w( 

battered and be ii 
refuge. Battered s 

o determine that they meat the 
e adnieeione criteria for each 
omen itiuet have been recently 
safe shelter without available 
admitted to the shelter any time 
t. any day of the veeh, depending on when they 
e. Many women who eeah help from the shelter 
financial and familial support. 

advertising, a friend or family, or the advertised b 
women's hotlines. Referrals to the shelters can come 
the emergency rooms of the hospitals in the area. In 
addition, other referrals are made by the community c. 
hotlines, polloe, clergy, rape ctieie programs, women 
health care clinics, and university and medical c 

To be Included In this study, ths women must have been 

according to their response on intake forms. The eight yeari 
of schooling was deemed an appropriate indication of a 

baselin« ablllcy to read and understand 


PhCSS XI. an acronym for Family Adaptability and 
Cohesion Svaluatlon Scalea, was developed by Olson, Bell and 

initial developaisnt of PACSS II, 464 adults responded to 90 
items. The average age of Che respondents was 30.5. The 90 
items covered Che IS content areas of cohesion and 

reduced Co SO Iteme. The SO leans of this Initial FACES II 
were administered Co 2,412 individuals in a national survey 
(Olsen ec al., 1985). On the basis of factor analysis and 
reliability analysis, the S0>item scale was reduced to 30 

containing 16 cohesion items and 14 adaptability items (see 
Appendix E) - There were two items lor the following eight 
concepts related Co the coheeion dimension t emotional 
bonding, family boundaries, coalitions, time, space, 
friends, declsion-mahing, and incereeta and recreation. 
There were two or three items for the six concepts related 
), leadership. 

the adaptability dlmenaions: 

pesceived-ideal dlBcsepancy also provides a measure o£ 
individuals are with chelr currenc family system regardless 

should be uncorrslaced or orthogonal. Cohesion and 
adaptability in faces ix meets this criteria (r-.2S) . In 
addition, the correlaticoi between adaptability and social 
desirability was reduced by the authors to (r-,39) with some 
correlation between social desirability and cohesion 
(r=.3Ql . The internal reliability and test-recest 
reliability are consistently high (r>.S0). In terma of 

they distinguish between clinical and non-clinical families 
(Olson, 19S6). Further, the scales demonstrated concurrent 

(1991) cofDpared the Dalles Self-Report Family Inventory 

SFI global measure of family health and the cohesion ecale 
to be .93 and with the adaptability scale to be .79. A 

validity, and clinical utility is provided in Appendix A. 

According to Olson et al . (1979) very low or very high 

family. Moderate scores on 
functional family. Oleon a: 

should be independent of each ocher. 

Several studies have tested the major hypocheaia that 
balanced family types are more functional than extreme 
types. Clar)ce (1964) found a very high level of extreme 

the no-therapy group. Conversely, he found a significant 
higher level of balanced families in the no-therapy group 

Other studiea have focueed on alcoholic families in 
wlaich the identified petlenc was the mother or father. Deing 
the original Family Adaptability and Coheeion Evaluation 
Scale (PACES), Olson and Killorin (1964) found significant 
diffsrences between the chemically dependant families and 

families had a significantly higher 1 
families compared to the ncndependent 
A more recent study by Carnes II 
investigated the family systema in se 

families, Oarbarino, Sebes, and Schellenbach (191 

scale. As hypothesized by the Circumplex Model, t 
C he majority of the low risk families ' 
while Che majority of the high risk families 

offenders and found 

Hanson (1936) compared S3 mother-son dyads from father- 
absent families in which half had an adolescent juvenile 
offender and the ocher half had adolescents with no history 
of arrest or psychiatric referral. The results concluded 
chat only 7% of Che delinquents were balanced while 93% of 
the delinquent families were mid-range or extreme types. In 
contrast, 69% of Che nondellnquenc families were balanced 
while 31% were mid-range or extreme. 

In eummary, these studies of clinical samples clearly 
demonstrate the discriminant power of the Circumplex Model 
in diecinguiehing between problem families and 

a Collect 

acaSf person fron Che shelter or by the 
. The Inveecigacor net individually with 
each of the selected staff peraons to train them in Che 
procedures. Trainiu9 involved the following coeiponenCs; 

1 ) use of the leccer introduction to the subject inviting 
participacion, 2 ) determination that potential subject meets 
criteria for inclusion, 3) obtaining informed consent, 

confidentiality, 6) inacrumenc and inacructions, 

for follow-up contact, and 9] recording of data. The 
Inveatigator monitored the data oolleotion throughout the 
period by contact with the trained pareonnel and the ahelter 

Each woman volunteering to participate in the atudy was 
given a packet which included an introduction letter, 
inetructiona for the instrument, the instrument, end a 
demographic questionnaire {see Appendix A) . 

Participants' names were not placed on the instruments 

to ensure confldentlslity. Each packet was given a code 

etudy Independently and participants ccinplated the scale 

during their stay at the Broward County Women in Distress 
Shelter or Dade County women in Dlatresa Shelter. The 

adaptability and cohesion --the two independent variables -• 
by ascertaining battered women's perceptions and 
expectations of how their family should ftinction. 

First the individual scores on adaptability and 
cohesion for both the "perceived" (how the respondents feel 
the family is now] and "ideal" (how the respondents would 
like the family to be) were calculated. These scores provide 
us with the individual placements on the Citcumplex which we 
then plot to obtain a graphic picture of the family. 

This study posed the following hypotheses: 

1. Battered women's perceptions of their current 

women’s perceptions of their current 

the rigidly-disengeged subtype. 

3. Bactsred women's expectations for their ideal 
relationship will be extreme according to the Circumplex 

4. Battered women's expectations for their ideal 
relationship will fall into the very conneeted-very flexible 
{chaotically-enneshed} aubtype. 

5. There will be no significant differences between a 
aiJsject'a current score and her ideal score. 

6. There will be no significant differences between the 

Dade and Broward samples. 

cohesion and adaptability scales, while the chaotically 

aguare, but several 

e demographics 

Uypocheaia sii 

s also analysed ui 

.05 as a conventional level 


significance was escahlished 
of significance. 

Baimle Charaetariatlej 

The tocal eainple included 79 vomen. The Broward group 
conaiated of 62 women, constituting 76.5% of the total 
sample, while the Dade group coneiated of 17 women, who 

shelter population comprised 72%. while the remaining 27,6% 
were drawn from an outpatient group in Broward County. 


A breakdown of the study participants by age and county 
appears in Table 4-1. The sample was predominantly in their 
twenties and thirties (6Q%) with the mean age being 31,26 
years (Sfi-7.83K This age profile ie guite similar to 
shelter semplee from ocher research {see Appendix B) . A 
more specific breakdown follows; 46% fall within the 21-29 

41 and 45 years of age, and the remaining 6.5% are between 
46 and 46 years of age. A t-test was conducted to determine 

did not: algniflcancly differ, £-1,17, df-26.49, 

're vere no significant differences regarding 


Broward Dade Total 

group Group Sample 

The vast majority of the sample was non-white (S4,SV), 

aheltara ie-g,, Snyder ft Pruehtmain, 1961; Snyder s Scheer, 
1961; see Appendix C) . Mora speolfically, Blach women 

total sample, Hispanic 

9.2% of the eanple and the reveining 33.5% were Cauoaalan. 

In the Dade aample the breakdown was: •’5% Black, 12.5% 
Caucasian, and 13.5% Hispanic. However, in the Broward 
sainple. Blacks coeprlsed only SQ% of the satiple, Hiapanics 
8.3% and the remaining 41.7% was Caucasian (see Table 4>2) . 
The researcher ran a chl-sguare analyals Co determine if the 
racial differences between the samples were scacistically 
significant. This analysis indicated that although looking 
at the data there seemed to be differences regarding race 
between the samples, these differences were not 
statistically significant, x'-4.69, df-2, p«,iQ. Therefore, 
there are no significant differences regarding race between 
Che samples. 



BCatiBCically significant, the researcher ran a chi-sgiiare 
analysiB. Thle analysis indloaesd that these dlfferencea 
were not scatlBtically significant. X--2.5, df-1, p..ll. 

employment between the two samples. 

Employment of samoli 

Employed 42 {66.9) 

cha najorlcy of Cho women had aoughc 
' education with 4fi.gV having some college 

grade and the remaining 14.5% had attended 

oed out prior to completion (flee 

through 11 
fiosie high echool 

were significant differences regarding education bet 
Dade and Broward women would have produced expected 

e likely to produce 

freguenciee of less ti 

results . 

variable, consisting of 
college experience and 

Id expected cell frequencies of fl' 
collapsed the original variable o' 
six discrete categories, into a n, 
:wo categories: 1 ) participants wii 
participants with a hlgh-achool 
li-sguare analysis showed that the: 

o significant differences b 

regarding education. 

0 (0.0) 

1 (6.7) 

S (33. 3> 

1 (1.4) 

2 (2.7) 



Number of Children 

chis locone, 64.6% conCributed to leas than half of their 
famlly'a income while 35.4 contributed over half (see Table 
4-6) . A chi-aguere anelyale to determine if there were 

frequencies of leas than five, so such an analysis could not 

In an effort to avoid expected cell freguenciea of 
five or less, this researcher collapsed the original 

ns, consisting o 

into a new variable, consisting of two categories: 1} 

participants with an income of S5,ooo or leas and 2) 
participants with an income of more chan $5,000. However, 
this chi-square analysis would also have produced expected 
cell frequencies that were leaa than five, so such an 
analysis could not be done because it would be likely to 
produce inaccurate results. 

analysis CO decsmlne 
rsgarding Isngch in ch 

.C there were significant differences 
! past abusive relationship between 

in five, BO such an analysis could not 
.d be libely to produce i. 

length of ciioe in the past abusive relationship, consisting 
of five discrete categories, into a new variable, coneisting 
of two categoriesi 1 ) participants who were in this 
relacionahip for two years or less and 2 ) participants in 
this relationship for more than two years- This chi'Sguars 

between the Dade and Browrad women regarding Che length of 
time in the lest abusive relationship, df«l, p-.S3. 

the following: 44.2% had been scrucb 1 to 5 cinea, 13% wers 

times (see Teble 4-a) . A chi-square aneiysle to decemine 
if there were eignificant differences in this regard would 
have produced expected cell frequencies of less than five. 

In an effort to avcici expected cell fcequenciea of 

the mifnber of times partlcpenta were struck by their 
partner, consisting of five discrete categoriee, into a 
variable, coneisting of two categories: 11 participants 
were struck by their mace between one and five times and 

times. Thia chl-sguare analysis showed chat there were 
significant differences between the Dade and Browrad women 
regarding the number of times they were struck by their 

Fraguenev of Violence 

# of times Qroup flroup Sample 

4 (25.0) 

Informatioa concerning when this abusive relationship 
had ended, or if it had ended provided the following 

SS.dt of the women reported the relationship ending less 

a chi-square analysis to determine 1' 

the Dade and Broward women. This analysis Indicated that 
there were no significant differencee between the groups, 
2>a4.02, d£-3, p°.26. Therefore, there were no significant 

differences between the Dade and Broward samples in their 

responaee to questions concerning 

Broward Dade Total 

oajority of this saople {56.6%) , this was their first 
abusive relationship. The average number of prior abusive 
relationships for the total sample was .S2 lap=i. 511 . 

and one subject reported having been in 9 in the past (see 

e significant differences b 

e and Broward 

abusive relationships 

psrticipanCa had endured. This analysis showed that there 
were no significant differences between the Dade and Broward 

The final question concerned whether or not there was 
abuse in their family of origin. This seeTned to be an even 
split as BO. 6% reported there was some kind of abuse in 
their family of origin and the remaining 49.4% reported 
none. To determine if there were significant differences 
between the Dade and Broward women, chi-square analysis was 
run. This analyais indicated that there were no significant 

abuse in thier family 

Paet Abusive Relatlonehlne 




adaptability d 

h ol Pnur Poaalbla 

gb««rv«d «nd B 

cally Bigniflca 

Falling Into Each o 

S3 i;:: i‘.r 

s conducted ai 

not algnificanCly differ, t--.79, di 
r -2.09, df-3, p<-55- However, 


not significantly differ, 
looking at responses to 
were significant 

d£-2. p<O01. Therefore, it can be 
for this version were significantly 

1 , as stated in prior hypotheses, 
between the saioples. 

Suimnarv of Pindlnoa 

Maintaining the predictions, Che participants’ > 
chance freguency. Further, t 

rigidly>disen9aged subtypa ac a better than chance 
frequency, as predicted. However, contrasting the luitlal 
predictions, the wonen'e ideal expectations were not 
categorized ae Extresie and accordingly, did not fall into 
the chaotically-anmeehed subtype ac a better Chan chance 

their relationship, measured by Che diacrepancy between 

and Broward wot 

differences were foi 
expectations . Thes> 

were no significnac differences found on 

>e discussed In greater 



DlBcmalon of »ajulc« 

The first prediction In this study was that tittered 
women's perceptions of their current relationships would be 

supported this hypothesis. This particular finding is not 
surprising when one considers the state of a battering 
relationship. An extreme classification, as was described 
earlier, is a natural result of a relationship characterized 
with dysfunction and a lack of balance with regard to 
ccdiesion and adaptability. Olson snd his associates {1979} 
have etated that extreme relationships are often problematic 

The eecond prediction was that subjects' current 
perceptions would be categorized as rigidly>dleengaged. The 
data clearly supported this hypothesis. A rigidly- 
disengaged relationship ie one in which there ie extreme 

and have separate interests. One person in the relationship 
Is highly controlling and the roles are strictly defined so 
To illustrate the rigidly- 

disengaged relacionship £or this population, we need to 
deecril^e Its meaning in relational terms. As just stated, 
the rigid rules are usually clear to both parties. 

According to Walker, both 

aesuine responsibility for 
e batterer works on controlling the 

a poseeaeive behavior and demands ti 
ks about and does. Batterers do no' 
e independent deciaions and 


battered women include, b 

£ body integration (Walker, 1! 

Further, for 

reinforced by the sex : 
expectations of how they should perform the role of wife. 

If a woman cannot live up to all the unrealistic, rigid 
traditions, ehe is more likely to accept the batterer's 
accusations and his distortions of her failures. Cognitive 
restructuring to broaden perceived choices is needed. 

The third hypothesis was that participants' 
expectations for their ideal relationships would be 

The data did not support this hypothesis, but found that the 
majority of participants fall into the balanced category. 

participants do desire a healthy relationship. It vould 
seem apparent from these findings that these women are not 
satisfied in their current relationship and do desire a 
change. This finding makes sense when one considers chat 
Che majority of this sample came from a shelter where women 
go when they have made a choice Co leave their partner. 
Moving Co a shelter Is one indication that they are 
unsatisfied with the state of their current relationahips. 
Similarly, it can be expected that the women from the out- 
patient group are also unsaciafied as they, coo. are seeking 

women are unsure about how to produce any further change, 
what kinds of relationships to seek out and how to maintain 
the dinenslona of cohesion and adaptability at a healthy 
state of functioning. Again, the need Co explore and 

The fourth prediction was that parclolpanta' ideal 
expectatlone could be cacegoriied as chaocloally-enmeahcd at 

this hypothesis. Howsver. when each dimenelon was examined 
separately, the data did support Che idea chat a significant 
proportion of the parcicipanca were claaaified as chaotic on 

Che edapcabillcy dimension. A chaotic raiacionahip haa 
erratic or liniced leaderehlp. Declslo&a are uaually 
lapulaive and poorly thought out. Kolea are unclear and 
often ehift from person to peraon. This depletion opposes 
the traditional description of a battering ralaclonehip. In 
comparing cheae scores with those for participants' current 
perceptions, it eeemB that these women do desire change on 
thie dimension, but that the desired change is in such 
opposition to the current relationship that they ars at the 
opposite extreme, i.e, they have moved from a classification 

previously, extreme relationshipe are problematic for their 
members. It is important to broaden hi 

In addition to this finding for tl 
dimension, a significant proportion of 

len's perceived 
middle ground, 

! adaptability 

are high, there is too much consensus In Che relationship 
and Coo little Independence (Olson, isss) , Although a 

"enmeshed", the majority of the 
higher end of the connected category. Thie again 
illustrates that the women do deaire change from their 
current relationehip, but are perhape too extreme in the 
amount of change they deeire. It is Important to oduotae 
these women on what would be conaidered "healthy" 

functioning bo bb to help then move towards Che "balanced" 

The fifth prediction was that there would be no 

the 9 celle did not have enough obaervaclone Co effectively 

professed Chat Che difference between these scores le a 
measure of one's satisfaction with their current 
relationship. Accordingly, no significant difference would 
imply satisfaction with the ourrent state of the 
relationship. As previously discussed, X do not think this 
is the case. Moreover, the data from the fourth prediction 

would not be categorised se rigidly disengaged as it wee 
with their current perceptione. Additionally, their ideal 
scores were categorized as balanced, where as their current 
Bcoree were categorized as extreme. Therefore, one could 
infer chat Che parclcipanca do deaira change and are clear 
about what kinds of changes, but on at least one of Che 
i, they are Coo extreme in the amount of change 

publiahed research. The ecudy of Claerhout, Elder, and 
Janes (1982) supported the research of Walker {1919), 
Hilberman (1917) and Gresly (1978) which suggested chat 

batcered women do not typically perceive alternative ways of 
responding in a battering sicuacicn. Claerhout and 
colleagues also conoluded that battered women were far lees 
likely to generate effective response alternatives and more 
likely to produce avoidant and dependent ineffective 
altemativea than were Che nonbactered parcicipanca. This 
again llluscraces Che importance of expanded their realm of 
chinking both in cemia of sex roles and problem solving. 

The final prediction wae that there would be no 
elgnificant differences batween Che Dade and Broward women 
with regard Co their scores on PACES II. Both Che t-cest 
and chi-sguare analysis found that there were no significant 

t-CeeC and chi-square analysis did find chat there were 
elgnificant differences on their Ideal acoree. Thie 
researcher feels Chat this finding should be interpreted 
with caution as neither of these ceete were ideal choices 
for this analyeie. A c-test should be used with interval or 
eontinuouB data, not categorical data. And although the 
ehl-equare analysis le appropriate for categorical data, 

were lees chan five so this analysis ia likely to produce 
inaccurate results. Additionally, the analyses for the 
demographic data repeatedly found chat there were no 
significant differences between the Dade and Broward women. 
Thie researcher believes chat there are no significant 

chia vith certaincy, because of aiixed statiacical reaulte. 

There are several drawbacks In the design of the 

discussing the results and their implications. First, all 
the women in the sample were volunteera who were comfortable 
sharing their battering experience. Moat important of all 
is Che fact that they have taken a major step to leave the 

abusive situation, were ready to reassess their past 
experience, and were willing to explore alternatives and 
make acme changes in their current lives. Therefore, one 

test those that cone to a shelter, ss well as batcsrsd women 
who are still living with their abusive partners. 

exploratory in nature and that the findings may be specific 
to this particular group of women. 

An additional area of concern is that these scores 
reflect only one member of the family's perception of family 
functioning. It has been shown that members often do not 
agree with each other in deecribing their family system 

Interested in her partner’s perceptions and expectationa . 
Perhaps future studies could measure these and search for 
similarities and discrepancies in an effort to find where 
these occur and if any patterns exist. 

Although there are some limitations to this study in 
addition to the reetrictions on generalizability imposed by 
non-random sanples, their contribution to our understanding 
of wife abuse should not be ignored. As Pagelow (1981) has 
suggested, "Each case study nay contribute additional 
insight into the problem. The additive effect of many 

In an effort to better utilise 
were used as a basis for comparison. 

I knowladge-bullding, 

The Bampla in the current study apparently over- 
represents black and other minority women in the battered 
women group. One should not prematurely infer that wife 

for several reasons. First, many Caucasian women are 

have alternative resources that enable them to avoid going 
to a shelter. And. second, the shelters Chat the sample o 
battered women in this study were drawn from are located Li 
predominately black araae in both the Dade and Broward 

Previous research findings on the racial composition of 

studies show that the raoial/ethnic composition of their 
samples tend to be representative of the racial distribution 

e population where Che study w 
is highest among blacks (Star 

I conducted (Carlson, 

's suggested that wife 
& McBvoy, 1970; Strauss 

discrimination, and frustration that minorities encounter 
and the fact that minorities are still disenfranchised from 
many advantages enjoyed by majority group meirbers can lead 
to higher ratea of violence coward women. They argue chat 


only domain where they can aeeert their power and dominance 

of man, which encouragee the uee of physical aggression. 

Educat ion 

The educational attainment of battered women in this 
study seams to be consistent with the findings of Carlson 
(1977) and Uofeller (1962 ) , with the tendency to have fewer 
women at the lowest level (grade school) and at the highest 
level of education (graduate school] • In addition, it was 
helpful to compare Che results of Che present sample with 
Pagelow'B (1961) findings, which were derived from a large 
sample of 347 bettered women in ehelter eettings. 

Fagelow closely examined the similarity and diecrepancy 

level of wives in the Unlcsd Statea of America. The 
education of women in Pagelow's sample, in the current 
study, and national atatistics is presented in Table a. 

The comparison reveala tliac battered women in both 
samples are not as undsreduoatsd ae women In the national 
sample at the lowest category, grade school. In contrast to 
natloaal'Sample women, battered women had a greater tendency 

tend to dropout from high school and college. Fewer women 
in the current sample graduated from high school. At the 
upper levels o£ education, battered women in this sample 
differed from the other two samples in that fewer women 
graduated from college. 

Ills findings of this study are consistent with Strauss 
et al.'s (1990) survey results, which challenge the common 
view that family violence occurs predominately among the 
least educated families. On the contrary, results of the 

Strauss St al. (I960) suggested 
complex relationship between violence 

education. People w 
school diplomas, may 

h average education, for example high 

well-paying professional jobs. Therefore, the moderately 
educated wor)cer may experience more stress and frustration 
than the uneducated worker. It would be interesting to 
study the relationship between dropout and violence. In the 
current study there is no available information regarding 
the factors that contributed to making the decision to drop 

people dropped out before or efter they were 

abusive partners. 


Reeulte of this study do not support the Strauss ec al. 
(ISSO) finding regarding the relationship between violence 
and family income. They found that families living at or 
below the poverty line (under $5,999) had a rate of violence 
between husbands and wives that was 500% greater than Che 
rate of spousal violence In the most well-to-do families 
(incomee over $20,000). In concraet to Che Strauas et al. 
results, thie study did not find any eignificant differences 
between women at the lower and upper levels of the 

e significant role in identifying victim 
These results oballenge the conventional thinking thee 
violence is confined Co poor families. Battered women 

and others earned more than $ 20,000 a year. 

Concludlno Bemarlts 

diaoriminant power of PACRS and the Circumplex Model in 
diatingulehing between problem families and nonsymptonatie 

has been strong empirical support 

bypochesis that balanced Camiliea are more functional chan 
extreme family types. In previous reserach, there has been 
a lank of evidence that any of these symptoms are 
specifically linked with a specific type of family syscscn. 
for example, rigidly disengaged. This was Che hope of early 
family research linking family synpcama (a schisophrenic 

Chat others will continue along this course. 

relaticnships. I 
an Integrated 

cultural factors, the influence of early learning and 1' 
experiences, the nature and management of trauma, the t; 
of alignments and boundaries that develop in the unit, , 

interactional pattema 







£ Stuav- 19B6 Study- 19B1 Studv-19Sl 

Study- 1979 







;s: ESSi“LiCri”r™' 



Department of Psycholo^ 

Comparison of Battered and Kon-Battered Women Regarding 
Their Ideal Marital Relationehip", that looks at the factors 
related to women getting into and remaining in abusive 
relationships. Enclosed you will find a letter deecribing 
the study and asking for your voluntary participation in 
addition to two guestionnairea for you to oomplece. Please 
complete the questionnaires and return it to the designated 
place. Your prompt response will be appreciated. Please ask 
the designated staff member if you have any questions. 

i>epartitienc of Psychology 

Dear Research Parciclpaac, 

I would like Co reguesc your parCicipaCion in a 
reaearch study I an conduccing. 1 an a doctoral student in 
the Counseling Psychology Progratn at Che University of 
Plorida in Gainesville, Florida. I am ccmducclng a study on 
battered women. Speoifioally, my purpose Is Co examine the 
faccore Chat night help explain why women get into and 

guest ionnaires . 

I am accenpcing to locate women who have been 
physically struck by their mates (husband, boyfriend, 
ex-husband) within the past two years. In order to 
participate in this study, women must have completed an 

Participation in this study involves completion of a 

completion of a short guestionnaire designed to obtain 

minutea for you to complete. All responses are anonymous and 
therefore it will not be possible Co ever connect you with 
the responses provided. The gueetionnsires will have a 
number at the top and this is simply to natch the packet 


helping In a study that I h 

Che resuXca of Chis study w 
in Dlscrese''- 

1 contribute to the safety 
e incereated. a copy of 
e through "Homen 

during or after participation 
staff mesiber is available to address th( 
non-participation in this study will not 
at any •’Honan in Distress" program- You 
participation at any Cine. 

Thank you for taking Che Cine to r« 
hope Chat you will agree to participate, 
your involvement in chia atudy. 

ta these. Participation or 
You are free Co withdraw 


Deparcment of 


Thank you vary nuch for participating in this study. 
The intent of this study was to measure your current 
perception of the relationship you have/had with your 
partner and what your ideal expectation would be for a 
relationship. It Is important to determine how close those 

expectations could be considered potentially problematic. 

he reaulta of this study yi 

place you received these materials or by contacting me at 
the address printed above. 

or discomfort from participating in this study, you can call 
women in Distress at 760-9SOO where counseling will be made 

■“y..nr5S:££., '£S. siz^r~i,z^i T.\ r 

■■"‘s; £.;;’a£ ”g£.s!j.; ‘ “' ~ 
" £;a, ■■■£■’£: sas* ™" ■“ 

"“tsairiaE%;s "■ "“• 


""Kgg|i;.:ffii ;s S‘..5i;aL 

“ISS.iSfSi.m., 'Sf 

Hartlk, L-M. (1903) Tdentlflcacton of aareonalicv 

EL'KS“.rr ““ 
'■3,;.:;.!‘ i:i:js;.r„r5;;>^a:.“.‘a. .... 

"ij ; :v °:-:£iri; 

“■ gs.^i;.-s 3g“i “it.; 


llig/iahj srps- 


Jodi Banuels Shir waa bom In Hollywood. Florida, on 
October 35, 19S9, After graduating from Hollywood Rills 

iRiivereity of Florida and aubsaguently completed ber 
maater'a degree in 1993. Jodi waa married on Decemlier 24, 

hxte and Sclancaa and to tha Graduate School and waa 
accepted aa partial Culflllmant o£ tha requiraitianta for the 
degree of Doctor of Fhlloaophy. 

Dean, Graduate School